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Bruce Sinclair
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Los Angeles
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Profile of Bruce Sinclair

I performed magic every Saturday night for six years at a bar/restaurant in Malibu. It was there that I first used the bounce/no bounce ball effect as a bar bet. Read on and you will learn exactly how I earned great tips and made people laugh with this relatively simple betcha.

I started by placing the bounce ball in a small rock glass or large shot glass face up on the bar or table, keeping the dead ball handy. I would pick up the glass and proceed to pour the ball out of the glass from 6 to 8 inches above the bar and catch it in the glass after one bounce. I would catch some and miss some. I'd turn to my mark and say, "It is harder than it looks!" I let them try it, they'd do it as it is very easy.

Then I'd say, "I have a wager for you (I never call a betcha a bet), I will pour this ball and catch it in the glass five times in a row without missing, or I lose. If I succeed, you only have to catch it in the glass once to win, and I will give you five chances." Depending on the situation, I'd often offer 5 to 1 odds. I'd point to a large brandy glass behind the bar with cash in it. I'd say, "If I lose, I will pay you out of that glass, if I win, you'll put your money in."

After I poured and caught five bounces in the glass, while still holding it, I'd shuttle pass the ball out of the glass, retaining the bounce ball in my hand that is holding the glass. While calling attention to the switched no bounce ball in my opposite hand and giving it a gentle toss in the air, I'd set the glass face up on the bar and palm the bouncer. With the right speed and attitude(subtle, not overacted), this is a natural misdirection. I'd then drop the no bounce ball into the glass on the bar. As I pushed the glass w/dead ball towards the mark, I'd ditch the bouncer behind the bar.

This is a fun betcha to perform. I did not use specific hand information as I am left handed. I think most people who took this bet realized they were going to be giving me a tip and this made them feel good about taking the bet. The wager often varied, depending on the person or situation, but the effect was always the same. I would build interest at the bar and with everyone watching, the mark would pour the ball out of the glass onto the bar where it would go "thud".

This is the first time I have put this routine in print. I was told not to by a magic friend. Instead of just keeping it to myself, I make the following request. You may use my BOUNCE/NO BOUNCE betcha under the following two conditions. 1)If you use this betcha and make money, please send 15% of your "winnings" to the American Red Cross. They helped me out recently, after a fire consumed my home. 2)If anyone should decide to put this in print or on a dvd, ask me first, or I will do this routine with your set! ---> .. <--- "Do we have a deal?"

For fun and profit,

Bruce Sinclair
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354 Posts

Profile of honus
Very good.

What's the theory behind saying "wager" rather than "bet"? I've never heard anyone say "wager" who didn't own a racetrack ("Quinella Wagering This Race").
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In my day, I have driven
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Profile of airship
I think the psychology behind this is that in the US, 'wager' is usually mentally expanded as 'friendly wager', whereas 'bet' has more of a serious tone to it.
'The central secret of conjuring is a manipulation of interest.' - Henry Hay
Bruce Sinclair
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Profile of Bruce Sinclair
Thanks for responding to my post. Yes, airship, that was my thinking at the time. I am not sure how it would translate in another language. On certain occasions, I would tell my audience flat-out, "I am going to take your money". There is nothing worse than making someone feel that they are being riped-off, or hustled. With this, or any routine involving a "tip getter" trick, attitude is important.

This was also the case when I performed card on the ceiling with their bill wrapped around the deck. If you are going to stick someones money on the ceiling, you should be perfectly clear with them, or be prepared to return their money.

I have decided to publish this and several of my old restaurant routines. If you have any thoughts or ideas that you think merit being included, please let me know. Thanks!
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